Friday, November 11, 2016


November 11, 2016 from Prism Book Group
From the Back cover:

When nobody loves you, you have nothing to lose.

Lily Masters is not getting involved with any fake job scheme covering a sex trafficking operation supposedly cooked up by her stepbrother, prison guard Art Townsend. Hoping to get help at a friend’s place deep in the woods of northern Wisconsin before a blizzard, Lily loses her way. At first, she doesn’t realize how fortunate she is to be found by Cam Taylor, a poetry-spouting former lit professor. Cam has his own reasons to hide while writing a biography of his Civil Rights activist grandparents and accidentally stirs up a cold case murder involving a potential Supreme Court judge. When trouble follows, either of them is the likely target.

Beneath every story is layer upon layer of trust and lies. Who can they believe when things go from surreal to devastating?

$3.99 eBook

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The underlying theme of UnderStory is prejudice—how we look and perceive others and judge them and ourselves by the way they look, whether we can see the physical or emotional scars. Lily Masters is born with a genetic condition, Poland’s syndrome, which colors her world, makes her feel unloved and unwanted, and although she’s learned to hide her condition and feelings, get a good job and function in public, she can never again connect with someone who would learn about her physical problem and reject her. When Lily is rescued by a biracial Literature professor, Cam Taylor, who is dealing with prejudice on so many levels, and they are stranded together, she begins to learn not to judge people and situations by what others say or even by her own standards. Lily and Cam’s journeys are about learning that shame is a reaction they choose based on others’ perceptions and standards, not something they have to accept. Learning to free herself from the bonds of self-loathing, Lily realizes how to be strong and fight for her family and how to accept love as well as give it. Cam comes to a peaceful place as he learns to see the world through what is, not through what he anticipates.

Endorsements sample:
Lisa Lickel weaves together a masterful tale of intrigue and romance, and the multilayers of complexity will leave the reader turning the pages. The characters are well-developed, and overarching themes involving racism and prejudice will resonate with the reader. The story takes place in the Midwest—in a small town that harbors a big secret—perhaps more common than anyone dares to imagine. UnderStory is one of those rare books that’s not only a great read but makes a statement about what’s most important—in the midst of depravity, unfairness, and greed.
—Lorilyn Roberts, award-winning author and founder of the John 3:16 Marketing Network

Drugs, human trafficking, and corruption all play their part in Lisa Lickel’s atmospheric thriller, UnderStory, but it’s the characters and the love story you’ll remember most. In some ways, the book reminded me of the movie Fargo—quirky locals, investigators facing not only ruthless criminals but also a frozen winter landscape of snow and ice in an isolated far north town. The blizzard is the catalyst that brings together two emotionally damaged strangers when Cam finds the mysterious Lily unconscious near his isolated cabin. When he brings her inside, he becomes involved in both love and dangers he never expected when he hid himself away in the woods.
—Robin Johns Grant, author of Summer’s Winter.

Here's an Excerpt
Cam had borrowed Lily’s car to get home last night. As he drove back into Barter Valley in the morning, slipping around on the car’s bald tires, for his appointment with Minerva Thorsten, he kept a running commentary of his current situation spiraling in his head. Stone cold stupid. This whole deal with him and the Internet and research was a separate thing going down from the case Forbes was on, just like the man said. Cam could not believe him at first.
Uncle Sam was monitoring his personal business. But Cam had beaten a mess before. He’d been acquitted. He wasn’t on any sex-offender registry or felon watch-list. He didn’t think so, anyway. How ripped from the headlines was that? “Illegal Wire Tapping in Small Town Library.” “Free Speech Rights Stomped Again.” “Sex Trafficking Stopped.” All of Matt’s dreams would come true when he broke both stories. And if Matt was right, this Minerva was the perfect legal representation for a person whose constitutional rights were being violated.
He parked, pulled up his hood and jumped frozen waist-high piles of snow to get to the newspaper office. At least the weather was changing. The high temp might make zero today. The dogs would be all right. They’d stay together, keep warm. He’d water them later. What day was it? Logan possibly had his truck ready. He caught a glimpse of a shadow on the walk, the prickle that something was in his way. He stopped and looked up. And swallowed. “Hi, there, Ole. What’s happening?”
Ole took off his gloves and cracked his knuckles. He slowly pulled the gloves back on. “Lily isn’t like the other girls around here. She sorta got a little stuck-up from living in the cities, but she’s still a nice girl.”
After the big guy’s little display of assumed prowess, Cam decided to refrain from eye-rolling, sighing, or any other possibly misunderstood gesture of superiority. Besides, he liked Ole and felt a little sorry about maybe taking Lily away from him…if he could even pretend like that. “I agree she’s a nice girl. Pretty early in the morning for a conversation like this, pal. And I’m on my way to an appointment. Spot you a coffee later?”
Ole plunged right on. “And good. She’s not going back there with you, all alone, to stay at your place again.”
At this, Cam let out a chuckle. “I agree she’s not going back there alone.” He watched Ole’s jaw muscles clench and held up a hand. “It’s not what you think, man. I care about her safety, and it’s not safe out there.”
The other man snorted as he breathed in. His mouth opened. “I kin keep her safe.”
Cam nodded as if he agreed and said softly, “Or your mother can.”
Ole’s apple cheeks turned an even darker shade of red, while his expression became wounded.
“Just so we understand each other, brother,” Cam said. “I trust you. Lily trusts you. We don’t trust anyone else.”
Cam swallowed and wiped his mouth as he watched Ole stride away, each step like a league, until he disappeared around a corner. A hugely smiling fox-faced Sven drove the snowplow past and honked.
They had to have been fraternal twins.
Ten seconds later, Matt moved his face from the computer screen at the Freeman office to notice Cam stood at his side. “Buddy! I gotta tell ya, this is the third most exciting thing to happen in Barter Valley. Since I can remember, anyhoo. Take a load off.”

Cam set his coat on the back of a chair and rubbed his hands. “Third?”

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